With the holiday break on the horizon, you may be staring down an entire week-plus of unstructured time with your kids. For most Long Island kids, Christmas break runs from Monday, December 26, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023.
To help fill the void, we've rounded up 30 holiday break activities for Long Island families. From lingering must-do holiday events to visiting nearby attractions or planning a bigger escape, we've got you covered.
You can find even more Long Island happenings in our event calendar and holiday guide.
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Take a drive to see some over-the-top houses, including this one on Elm Avenue in Coram. Photo courtesy of the homeowner
Christmas and Holiday Break Ideas for Long Island Families
1. Tour the Neighborhood
Throw the kids in the car, pack some snacks, and hit the road to visit some of these spectacular home holiday light displays before they go dark.
2. Walk in a Winter Wonderland
Visit Bayville Winter Wonderland to meet Santa, ride the holiday train, enjoy some arts and crafts, and check out the arctic skating rink. There is also a Christmas tree forest, axe throwing (dads will dig this!), and rock climbing. Most attractions are outdoors.
3. See Some Magic
Gawk at the Magic of Lights drive-thru spectacular at Jones Beach.
4. Then Drive Through More
See the dazzling lights, amazing vignettes, and holiday scenes at the Smith Point Light Show, a 1.5-mile trail of lights put on by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County.
RELATED: Must-Do Holiday Events and Christmas Light Drive-Thrus on Long Island
Take a special photo with Santa at Waterdrinker Farm's Winter Wonderland. Photo courtesy of the farm
5. Visit With Santa
Schedule a time to get your last-minute gift requests in and snap a picture with Santa before he flies off for final Christmas preparations.
6. Surround Yourself in Christmas
Immerse yourself in the Christmas season at The Christmas House, an interactive walk-through experience where guests explore a Christmas-themed wonderland.
7. Celebrate With Sharks
Ring in the new year with Long Island Aquarium's Fishes & Wishes party, where adults and kids enjoy a DJ, buffet dinner, and unique animal encounters.
8. Slide into 2023
Explore one of the many destination-worthy playgrounds on Long Island.
9. Enjoy a Holiday Meal
Peruse the holiday village and shops, then have dinner at Milleridge Inn.
RELATED: Best Holiday Lights Drive-Thrus and Christmas Lights Shows on Long Island
Westbury Gardens is aglow during its annual Shimmering Solstice light display. Photo courtesy of the gardens
10. Celebrate Winter Solstice
Westbury Gardens is illuminated during Shimmering Solstice, a special light display running through Sunday, January 1, 2023.
11. Catch a Movie
Movie theaters have lots of family-friendly films that hit the big screen this season. Kids will love Lyle Lyle Crocodile, which stars Shawn Mendes and is based on the best-selling book.
12. Explore Nature
Get up close with nature at one of these local nature centers.
13. Root for the Islanders
Check out the UBS Arena and cheer on the Islanders at one of their scheduled home games over the break.
14. See a Live Show on Long Island
A Christmas Story and The Happy Elf are all being performed on Long Island stages.
RELATED: Guide to Holiday and Christma Events for Long Island Families
From Tudor Queens to pop icons, the wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix 500 years of historical heartbreak into a celebration of 21st-century girl power. Photo courtesy of the production
15. Or in the City
There are many kid-friendly shows on Broadway. Check out the window displays while on your way to the theater.
16. Blast Off or Take Flight
Check out the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which includes its popular Family Movie Nights.
17. Roll a Strike
If you're looking for a little indoor fun for the family, hit the lanes...the bowling lanes, that is, at these alleys in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
18. Have a Sip
Brrrr, baby, it's cold outside. Warm up with some of the best hot cocoa spots on Long Island.
RELATED: Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids
Sharpen your skates and take a glide at Christopher Morley Park or another outdoor rink. Photo by LMRose Photography
19. Lace Up
Grab your skates and hit the ice at these wonderful outdoor rinks.
20. Hit Up the Arcade
Rack up the tickets and beat some high scores at one of Long Island's arcades.
21. Bounce Around
Let the kids blow off some energy at an indoor trampoline park or play space.
22. Go to the Gold Coast
Explore the North Shore from Port Washington to Port Jefferson.
23. Walk the Beach
Go for a stunning winter beach walk along our picturesque shorelines.
RELATED: Toys for Tots Donation Spots on Long Island and More Places to Donate Toys
Nothing beats a trip to Manhattan to see the famous Rockefeller Center tree. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer
24. See the Tree
Day trip into NYC to check out the Rockefeller Center tree or visit the Winter Village at Bryant Park.
25. Hit the Slopes
Head off to a nearby family-friendly ski mountain to beat the cabin fever.
26. Escape the Island
Book a weekend getaway to one of our favorite nearby winter destinations.
27. Go Snow Tubing
Bundle up and take a day trip to a nearby snow tubing spot.
RELATED: Christmas in New York: 49 Holiday Activities To Do in NYC Before Your Kids Grow Up
Spend a winter day in the tropics at Great Wolf Lodge's indoor water park. Photo courtesy of the lodge
28. Go for a Swim
Pretend it's summer and splash away at these indoor water parks.
29. Cross the Sound
Spend a day on the other side of the Long Island Sound exploring Mystic, Connecticut.
30. Check off Some Bucket List Items
Attempt a few of our top 100 things to do on Long Island with kids.
This article was originally posted in 2017. It was updated in December 2022.